Cicada Killer Facts
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Hymenoptera
- Family: Crabronidae
- Genus: Sphecius
- Species: Sphecius speciosus
11 Cicada Killer Facts for Kids
- The cicada killer is a solitary wasp that is a member of the genus Sphecius.
- Cicada killers are also known as cicada hawks and sand hornets.
- The binomial name for the cicada killer is Sphecius speciosus.
- The cicada killer (Sphecius speciosus) is native to and only found in North America.
- The cicada killer is a solitary wasp and lives alone in a burrow in the ground.
- A cicada killer burrow will be between 10 and 20 inches deep, and about 0.5 inches wide.
- The average length of an adult cicada killer is between 0.60 and 2.0 inches.
- The large size of the cicada killer is intimating to humans. However, they are not aggressive and it’s rare that a human is stung by one. The sting of a cicada killer is compared to the pain of a pinprick.
- Cicada killer wasps don’t kill cicadas. They paralyze them with their stinger and take them to their burrow where an egg is laid on them. They cicada is ultimately consumed by a cicada killer larva.
- Adult cicada killers don’t eat cicadas. They feed on nectar from flowers and other plant based fluids.
- Male cicada killers aggressively defend their territory from other males and frequently challenger one another.
Cicada Killer Pictures
A photo of a cicada killer wasp attacking a cicada.
Credit: Steven Kritchen / Bug Guide
A close-up photo of a cicada killer wasp’s stinger.
Credit: M. J. Raupp
A photo of a cicada killer wasp and its burrow.
Additional Resources with Cicada Killer Wasp Facts
- Cicada Killer Wasp Video – A excellent video by PBS talking about cicada killer wasps (Sphecius speciosus).
- About the Cicada Killer (Sphecius speciosus) – The Entomology Department of the University of Kentucky has tons of information on the cicada killer.
- Sphecius speciosus – Discover more awesome facts about the cicada killer wasp on the Wikipedia website.